What's in AS/A level Mathematics?

AS and A level Mathematics are two separate qualifications. AS Mathematics is graded A-E, and A level Mathematics is graded A*-E. Both have UCAS tariff points.

For both of these qualifications, all of the assessment takes place at the end of the course, and exam questions may draw on the whole of the content.

The subject content of these qualifications has been defined by the government. Three awarding bodies – AQA, Edexcel and OCR – offer AS and A level Mathematics qualifications that comply with these requirements. The detailed content and assessment structure of these qualifications is defined in the awarding bodies’ specifications:

There are three overarching themes underpinning the subject content:

  • Mathematical argument, language and proof
  • Mathematical problem solving
  • Mathematical modelling

There is also a requirement for the use of technology to permeate teaching and learning.

State-funded schools in England can only claim funding for teaching the English versions of AS and A level Mathematics. Independent and international schools and colleges may use other AS and A level Mathematics specifications, such as those offered by Cambridge International and Edexcel International.

A level Mathematics is the most popular of all A levels taken in England. Young people recognise that it’s a highly desirable qualification that can help them achieve their aspirations for further study and their future career.

Studying AS/A level Mathematics helps students develop a logical approach to problem-solving, as well as their mathematical knowledge and skills. It is therefore useful preparation a wide range of degree courses. For many STEM and economics degree courses, A level Mathematics is an essential pre-requisite. For others, such as geography and finance, studying AS/A level Mathematics is very useful, as it helps to keep students’ mathematical skills fresh and prepares them for the maths they will encounter during the course.

If AS and/or A level Mathematics would be useful preparation for your degree courses, please consider including them in your published admissions criteria. Whilst they may not be essential entry requirements, you might state that they are useful preparation for the course and that you look positively on applications from students offering them.